Ordinary People

Topics: The Dinner Party Pages: 2 (447 words) Published: May 26, 2008
Cal pours himself a drink (he has been doing a lot of this lately, he remarks to himself) and talks to Conrad while waiting for Beth to get ready. He is unsure what to talk to Con about, but asks him what he was doing today; Con tells him he was in Skokie seeing someone he knows, but will say no more. He tells Cal that he has a midterm on Tuesday and has to study. Cal mentions London, and Conrad says that whatever they decide is fine. He'll go for Christmas if they want; he doesn't want to spoil their plans. Beth appears, and she and Cal leave Con alone.

On the way to Phil and Sara Murray's house for dinner, Beth tells Cal that she knew Con would go to London if they asked, but it's too late now. Cal feels a bit guilty. They talk about the Murrays; Cal has not liked Phil Murray since he saw him cheat on the golf course. He asks Beth if they can skip dinner, go to the movies instead, but she doesn't give in.

Calvin does not enjoy the dinner party, and he can tell Beth feels the same way. Sara and Phil Murray, Marty and Ed Genthe, and Ann and Mac Kline flutter about, making small talk and joking with each other. Ann asks if Conrad was sick. Beth answers that he's fine.

After dinner, the guests gather in groups of two and three, discussing bridge, books, tennis, and other polite topics. Calvin recalls kissing Marty at a New Year's party several years back; he felt guilty, but Beth never mentioned it. He gets into an uncomfortable conversation with Sara and Marty about Conrad; Marty's son has said that Con has become less social, and misses swim practice several times a week. Cal tells them that he sees a doctor on those days. Beth and Cal leave, and Beth accuses Cal of drinking too much at parties and talking about things that should be private.

Topic Tracking: Order 2

When they get home, Calvin checks in on Conrad. He has fallen asleep with the light on; Calvin can see his arm and the scar from his attempted suicide, but tries not to look at it. He...
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